Welcome to Fan Chant, a weekly column for K-pop fans, stans, and newbies alike. Each week, I’ll be rolling out interviews, lists, and all kinds of content to keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest from our friends in Seoul and beyond. Also, make sure to subscribe to my companion newsletter!
For all the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, working as a K-pop idol is not always the dreamy life many fans might imagine — and while this isn’t a new idea at all, it’s one with which HUH YUNJIN of LE SSERAFIM has become all too familiar.
LE SSERAFIM debuted in May of 2022 and have quickly found their footing. The members turned heads with their diverse, sharply-honed skill sets: KAZUHA, for example, is a classically trained ballet dancer and incorporates her background into LE SSERAFIM’s choreography, while HUH YUNJIN has a background in opera, and recently opened a performance flexing her years spent sharpening her vocal skills. LE SSERAFIM made our list of 10 K-pop acts that dominated 2022, and the five members seem to have no intention of slowing down any time soon.
HUH YUNJIN, a vocalist and dancer in the group, was raised in America. In the short time that’s passed since LE SSERAFIM’s debut, the now-21-year-old has been vocal about hoping to use her role within the industry to bring positive change to the idol experience. She’s not afraid to dive into topics that might still feel a bit taboo in the world of K-pop, and turned up the volume in her latest self-written and self-produced single, “I ≠ DOLL.”
little throwback for pride 🙂
i love you. unconditionally.#LE_SSERAFIM #HUHYUNJIN #허윤진 #ホユンジン pic.twitter.com/LO7ueLuBQl
— 르세라핌 (@IM_LESSERAFIM) June 2, 2022
The animation in the music video for the single was also created by HUH YUNJIN herself. It shows scenes of a cartoon figure, a stand-in for herself, boxing a masked figure, presumably intended to be an online troll. Later, after having her outfits switched out in a way that recalls dress-up computer games of our youth, she stands as camera bulbs flash and newspaper headlines surround her: “ANT SIZED WAIST, WEIGHT LOSS TIPS, DESIGNER BRANDS, SHOCKING NEW LOOK.”
It’s unusual in the best way for an idol in the K-pop world, especially one as young as HUH YUNJIN, to tackle these themes head on. (LE SSERAFIM’s name, appropriately, is an anagram of “I’M FEARLESS.”) I was so excited to connect with HUH YUNJIN for this week’s column and hear about what went into the release.
Take a listen to “I ≠ DOLL” below, and read on for HUH YUNJIN’s insights into the message and songwriting process.